Drone Alert

Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a UFO? Is it a skydiver?

Most likely, these days, it’s a drone.

BurningManDroneImageFrom the Atlantic:

Just one week to go until Burning Man 2013, the massive annual arts festival in the Nevada desert, and the community’s organizers have thought of everything. In 2013, “everything” includes unmanned aerial vehicles.

Following complaints that a few UAVs were buzzing around Burning Man 2012, disturbing people’s experience and, when equipped with cameras, invading their privacy, Burning Man organizers convened the first ever Black Rock City Drone Summit. Some 40 people attended the summit in person, with another 100 teleconferencing in. Over the past few weeks, they worked to draft “best practices” for UAVs at Burning Man, and they recently released guidelines modeled on those adopted by the Academy of Model Aeronautics. The highlights, which organizers posted on the Burning Man blog, are as follows (full list here):

  • All UAVs carrying cameras will register with Media Mecca and each UAV will carry a unique registration number on a small decal on the vehicle.
  • Operators will avoid flying over crowds and populated areas.
  • Operators will avoid flying during the Temple burn.
  • No flying near the Black Rock City airport or helipads.
  • No flying near the Man any time Saturday the day of the burn.

drone multi rotorBoing Boing has some more details:

1. Be safe! Avoid flying over large crowds or densely populated areas. If you crash into a crowd you can seriously injure people. Follow the AMA safety code when flying any RC device. If you injure someone, you are responsible.

2. If your RC/UAV has a camera and you will record video/still photos from it, you need be aware of the video and photography guidelines in Black Rock City. Additionally, all RC/UAV with cameras need to register with Media Mecca*.

3. Don’t fly near the airport. The airport is located at 5:00 and the trash fence. (See map)

4. Don’t fly near the emergency helipad – Located near Point 1, and another by the airport, usually set up quickly (for emergencies, duh) so stay away from that whole area.

5. On the day of the Man burn (Saturday, September 1, 2013), RC/UAV, helicopters (be they full sized or models) or any other aircraft shall not be flown within the borders of the Great Circle (around the Man) from 7 AM until after the conclusion of the show.

i. The primary reasoning for this is that the pyrotechnics can be set off by static electricity which is caused by any aircraft, therefore creating a very hazardous environment for the pyrotechnics crew working on, in, and around the structure.

ii. Secondarily the possibility of loss of control of the aircraft could cause damage to the structure, Man Base, or harm the working personnel in the area.

red cross droneBurning Man’s “drone summit” had 40 people live and 100 people teleconferencing in. Interest in drones is high, and growing. From the official Burning Man blog:

Participants flying unmanned aerial vehicles(aka drones, RC airplanes, etc.) have developed a set of best practices for flying at Black Rock City this year.

The best practices came out of a July 17“Drone Summit” at Burning Man headquarters that had 40 in attendance and an estimated 100 on a teleconference. Burning Man organizers arranged the summit following participant complaints from BM2012 that included UAVs flying over crowds at the Man burn, one UAV flying at the Temple burn, and a concern that UAVs with cameras were invading peoples’ privacy.

The best practices developed by participants were modeled on safety guidelines adopted by the Academy of Model Aeronautics and updated to address the unique environment of Black Rock City. The entire list of guidelines is here

Drone pilots, be careful of skydivers!

As a skydiver jumping at Burning Man I can’t help but post to this regarding drone use. One thing I’d like to add that I wish were on these guidelines is that skydiving operations will be going on Wed – Sat. We mostly land at 5 o’clock of the inner circle and at the airport. If you are going to be in those areas please be aware of skydiving operations! The last thing we want is a skydiver/drone entanglement at 400 feet.

3 comments on “Drone Alert

  1. burningmandroneimage.jpg background photo is 1991 by George Post, probably the most pirated & uncredited Burning Man photo on the web thanks to an appearance on the Laughing Squid blog several years ago during the John Law/Larry Harvey/Danger Ranger lawsuit. As more and more comments and updates were made, the photo-credit line was pushed lower and lower. Laughing Squid now provides adjacent photo credit lines that remain immediately beneath the image.

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